Good Light for Great Wedding Photos

In the last few wedding advice posts we’ve been sharing some tips for wedding planning. Today, we’re excited to share some tips on good light for great wedding photos. Obviously, we believe that hiring a good photographer is the key! However, there are always things that you can do to make any photos a little bit better. Today we are talking about light. Photography is all about light! Understand it, and you’ll be able to plan for a beautifully captured day.

what is good light

For a basic understanding of light we’re going to briefly mention a few concepts and then apply them to your wedding day. You already have a long list of things to do for your wedding. Instead of making this another one, I want you to combine it  with things you are already doing. You’re already looking for a beautiful venue, just notice the part that light plays in making a place beautiful! Imagine what it will look like during the time of your wedding.


You might hear the photography lovers in your life talk about exposure. Exposure is essentially the amount of light that is being captured by the camera. This determines how light or dark a photo is. If a room is too dark there won’t be enough light for the camera to create a photo. In a really dark reception hall it becomes difficult for a camera to focus on a subject because it has a hard time differentiating it from the background. Exposure is the reason light has the ability to impact the quality of your wedding photos.

soft light

soft light is a term that we often discuss when we are searching for good light. We are referring to diffused or indirect light that produces less harsh shadows. Clouds, shade, and a low sun angle help to create soft light. The softer the light, the more the camera can see and capture. Since we focus a lot on capturing the environment you’ve chosen for your outdoor wedding, soft light is very important. It’s what allows us to expose both for you and the background! Additionally, the soft romantic light of sunset can make for beautiful photos!

wedding photography

how to find good light

window light

For parts of the day that you are indoors, such as getting ready, look for window light. If you’re choosing where to prepare in those hours before the ceremony, why not choose a room with big windows over a tiny bathroom? If you can find natural light, then you don’t have to rely on artificial light. Such a decision will have other benefits as well. You will be more comfortable with more space and your make-up artist with be able to do a better job.

time of day

Natural light can be easier to come by outdoors. However, it is sometimes hard to control since we can’t turn the sun up and down. When the sun is directly overhead there will be harsh shadows on your face. Alternatively, the soft light we get during the morning and evening makes for beautiful photos. Therefore, instead of trying to control the sun, you should plan your timeline to work around the most beautiful times of day. We regularly help our adventurous couples talk through the timeline from a photographic perspective. We schedule things like portraits for when the light is soft and romantic. Because we focus so much on capturing the environment you’ve selected for your wedding celebration, this is a very important element for us!

open shade

A perfect photography timeline isn’t always the most realistic wedding day timeline. When the light isn’t ideal, you can look for open shade. It’s another way to control the harsh mid-day sun. Open shade is when you are just inside the shade but open to the light. Open shade creates that same soft light that we are looking for earlier or later in the day. When we can, we often shoot family pictures in open shade that we find somewhere near the ceremony site. When you are looking at venues, see what kind of shade opportunities there are. Your guests will thank you if it turns out to be a hot day.

back light

We always see people staring into the sun trying to take a photo. They become disappointed when they are squinty and have harsh shadows on their face. We actually want the sun behind you. It will allow for softer light on your face. Think of this when selecting your ceremony site and orientation.

good light for great wedding photos

good light for great wedding photosgood light for great wedding photos

how to create light

Once you plan around finding good light, you can look for places to create more. Your photographer will bring flashes and add light based on the setting of your wedding. However, there other are things that you can do to create more light.

move to the good light:

The easiest way to create better light is to move to the good light. Thus, before trying to figure out how to create light, see if you can find the good light (see tips above!) For example, it is easier to bring a mirror to a well lit part of your getting ready room than to bring more light to a small bathroom. It’s easier to take sunset photos at sunset than to try to create an artificial sunset.

add elements of light:

Add candles, lanterns, or string lights for when it starts to get dark. Little pops of light can be stunning in a photo not to mention how they can set the mood for your reception. Don’t mistake flashing DJ lights for good light. These are fun but generally don’t add anything to your photos. Some DJ’s do provide lighting options such as uplights or spotlights that can contribute to the beauty of a photo.

wedding photography tips

good light for great wedding photos

We hope this post helped you determine how you can plan good light for great wedding photos! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help make your wedding memorable!

Next check out this basic camera settings guide, travel photography gear list, drone accessories, or this wedding settings guide to learn more about photography.

FREE comprehensive e-guide: Prioritize your planning so your wedding is a memorable adventure.

As always, thanks for stopping by the Bergreen Blog. Be sure to check out more wedding photography advice on the blog. We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in outdoor weddings and other adventures. Capturing people in nature and the mountain lifestyle is a passion that became a dream that became a life.

We love sharing our unique style of adventure wedding photography for outdoorsy couples. We are based in Evergreen, CO and travel throughout the state as Colorado mountain wedding photographers. We also frequently travel to California and other wedding destinations to document your love in a variety of memorable settings.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

Similar Posts